This week has been a whirlwind of end-of-school activities. It's almost as frantic as the first week of school, when you're trying to adapt to changing schedules, earlier mornings and your new role as transportation supervisor.
I did a little happy dance on 5-year-old Nikki's last day of preschool when my 11 a.m. alarm rang, and I realized this was the last day I would have to put down everything and drive across town to pick her up and take her to the baby sitter's.
It's a process that, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't do in less than 40 minutes. And, that's with two years experience under my belt.
My little dance was premature. The next day, my alarm rang at the same time (yes, alarm. Without it, I look at the clock at 11:35 and run out of the office cussing, no time to tell anyone where I'm heading. I think they figured it out, though. The next day at 11 a.m., a very kind co-worker asked casually, "have to pick up a little one today?" I noticed a note taped to his desk that read "Chris -- pick up daughter 11 a.m." I work in such a great place).
Anyway, the day after my last day, the alarm went off again. Had to drive across town, pick Nikki up and drive her to her end-of-the-year picnic. Today, I'm making an extra trip in honor of kindergarten assessments. Then there was preschool graduation and field days and ...
"Just as hard to get them out as it is to get them in," my baby sitter mentioned as I ran down the schedule.
Still, my enthusiasm for three months of alarm-free days wasn't dampened. I'm wondering if what I save on gasoline will make up for the added cost of baby-sitting? Given gas prices, it might be close.
Then, it's one more year of 11 a.m. insanity and ... my children will be off to college.
There's a sweetness to endings.
Nikki celebrated her transition to kindergarten with a graduation ceremony complete with a blue cardboard cap.
I handled the ceremony stoically. I didn't get misty-eyed, my throat didn't tighten.
That's probably because we did the same thing, on accident, last year. This was the second time Nikki had "graduated" from preschool.
My fault entirely. Didn't occur to me that, since she was too young to start kindergarten she didn't technically graduate from preschool. We went through the motions anyway -- including mommy dabbing her eyes a bit.
Nikki wore a pretty yellow dress patterned in flowers. It made her fairly unrecognizable to a group that was used to seeing her in pants not quite small enough to stay put on her narrow hips.
One mother told me "I'd recognize that butt crack anywhere."
Aaaah ... the bonds you forge.
I love summer time when dresses and elastic waistbands come back into play. THOSE, at least, show only what they're supposed to. I probably should've invested in some longer shirts, but ...
There's always next year.
One more year of mid-day alarms.
One more year of frantic juggling.
One more year that my babies will still be my babies.
"Just as hard to get them out as get them in."